ENERGY MINISTRY HANDS OVER PROTECTIVE GEAR TO ARTISANAL MINING GROUPS TO BOOST THE MINING SECTOR

By Sierra Ruth Arinaitwe

The Ministry of Energy and Mineral Development (MEMD) has handed over various personal protective equipment (PPE) to artisanal mining groups in Kitgum, Amudat, Kasese and Tororo districts in a clear effort to boost the mining sector in Uganda .

The equipment  was handed over following a private sector dialogue on eliminating Gender Based Violence (GBV) in work places held at Hotel Africana, Kampala .

 Ms Naomi Nangoku, a senior mineral dresser at the Ministry of Energy and Mineral Development (MEMD) noted that  female artisanal miners are a highly marginalized group in their work places which needs support and protection.

“The women are highly discriminated when it comes to pay as they have a low bargaining power. This is mainly because they are not equipped with enough information about the minerals they excavate and therefore end up being cheated,” Ms. Naomi  said.

According ,  the ministry is  working on empowering  mining  polices to ensure that women are protected and supported . The marginalized groups will be sensitized about  laws that govern  GBV, child labor, mining enterprise management  as well as empowering them to stand up for themselves.

“In addition we are working on equipping women with enough information about minerals they mine and value addition. We are also equipping them with skills including enterprise training and vocational skills in order to enhance alternative livelihoods for them,” Ms. Naomi added.

She  said that the Ministry of energy had intervened to offer protective equipment the miners to ensure safety and increase productivity .

The Ministry of Energy and Mineral Development  with support from the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) procured PPE including 1,000 reflector jackets, 1,000 hats, 1,000 gloves, 1,000 goggles, 1,000 dust masks, 1,000 gumboots and 620 hammers which were handed over to the district representatives of the mining groups.

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